Pasta Fresca

Pasta Fresca

This easy pasta fresca recipe is made with cherry tomatoes, garlic, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh spinach. A delicious plant-based dinner that is easy to make and requires minimal ingredients!

Type: dinner

Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: pasta fresca, dinner, pasta, italian,

Recipe Yield: 2

Calories: 710

Preparation Time: 10

Cooking Time: 10

Total Time: 20

Recipe Video Name: Pasta Fresca

Recipe Video Description: This easy pasta fresca recipe is made with cherry tomatoes, garlic, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh spinach. A delicious plant-based dinner that is easy to make and requires minimal ingredients!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 7 oz store-bought pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 teaspoon to cook the pasta
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 6 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups (baby) spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan, for topping

Recipe Instructions: Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and set it aside. Prepare the onions: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pan. Add the sliced red onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, fragrant and the onion becomes translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic: Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook until they slightly start to brown. After a few minutes, add the garlic and stir until the mushrooms are cooked and have released their moisture. Add cherry tomatoes: Add the halved fresh cherry tomatoes to the skillet and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until they start to soften and release their juices. Balsamic and red wine vinegar sauce: Stir in the balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar. Allow the sauce to simmer for 2-3 minutes to melt the flavors—season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Add spinach: Add the spinach to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until it wilts. Combine pasta and veggies: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomato, mushroom, and spinach sauce. Toss to coat the pasta evenly with the veggies and juices. Serve: Divide the pasta into serving plates and serve warm. If desired, sprinkle vegan cheese (nutritional yeast or, vegan Parmesan or crumbled feta) on top for added flavor.

Editor's Rating:
5

This easy pasta fresca recipe is made with cherry tomatoes, garlic, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh spinach. A delicious plant-based dinner that is easy to make and requires minimal ingredients!

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • An easy pasta recipe. For this recipe we use store-bought pasta for those bustling weeknights when you crave a satisfying meal without the extensive cooking process. This pasta fresca is both easy and delicious.
  • This pasta recipe is your go-to for those last-minute dinners, ready in just 15 minutes. It has become my favorite pasta dish, and everyone adores it!
  • It’s versatile. While I’ve included mushrooms, you can use your favorite veggies or add tofu or tempeh for extra protein.

📘 What is Pasta Fresca?

Let’s start by demystifying the term “pasta fresca.” Traditionally, pasta fresca refers to fresh pasta made from scratch. While we use store-bought pasta, it still captures the essence of Italian flavors and the spirit of pasta fresca in a plant-based and more convenient way.

Ingredients for pasta fresca on a white backdrop with descriptive labels.

🍄 Ingredient Notes

You will need less than 10 ingredients to make the this pasta recipe:

  • Store-bought pasta: serves as the convenient base for this pasta dish.
  • Olive oil: infuses richness, prevents sticking, and enhances pasta texture.
  • Red onion: adds mild sweetness and a touch of sharpness, creating flavor balance.
  • Garlic: adds a robust depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Mushrooms: offer an earthy umami taste, complementing overall savoriness. You can use any mushroom you like.
  • Cherry tomatoes: add a burst of freshness and subtle sweetness.
  • Spinach: add vibrant green color, a mild earthy taste, and nutritional value.
  • Balsamic vinegar: a delightful sweetness and a hint of acidity, enhancing complexity.
  • Red wine vinegar: adds tangy notes that balance flavors.

🥣 How to Make Pasta Fresca 

This pasta fresca recipe only takes 15 minutes to make. Here is the process step-by-step with photos to help you create the best pasta fresca recipe at home.

Step 1.
Cook the store-bought pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Step 2.
In a skillet or pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion. Sauté until fragrant and the onion becomes translucent.

Step 3.
Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and cook until they start to brown and release their juices. Also, add in the garlic now and stir again.

Step 4.
Stir in the halved cherry tomatoes (or diced tomatoes). Cook until the tomatoes soften.

Step 5.
Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar over the mixture in the skillet—season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if desired). Stir well to combine.

Step 6.
Add the spinach to the skillet and let simmer until the spinach wilts.

Step 7.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss it with the vegetable mixture, ensuring everything is well coated.

Serve your pasta fresca hot, garnished with a sprinkle of vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.

Pasta fresca topped with nutritional yeast and spinach leaves on a white plate with a silver fork and a white napkin.

Make sure to check the recipe card for the full recipe with the exact quantities and information on all the ingredients.

📔 Tips

Here are some tips to elevate your pasta fresca:

  • Extra umami. Add a teaspoon of nutritional yeast to the veggies to elevate their umami flavors and a subtle cheesy dimension.
  • Cook the pasta al dente. Avoid overcooking, as it can turn mushy when combined with the sauce.
  • Serve fresh. While you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days, pasta fresca is best when served immediately. The pasta tends to absorb the sauce over time, so immediate enjoyment ensures the ideal taste.
  • Use high-quality store-bought pasta for the best results.
  • Add more veggies. Add extra vegetables like bell peppers, peas, or zucchini for more color and flavor.
  • Add protein. Add some tofu or tempeh for extra protein. Using a high-protein pasta such as lentil pasta also packs a ton of protein.

🥣 Substitutions and Variations

  • Swap out the type of pasta for a different texture and shape.
  • Replace the spinach with arugula or kale for a distinct flavor profile.
  • Try different types of vinegar, such as white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, for a twist.
Pasta fresca topped on a white plate with a silver fork and a white napkin.

❔ How to store and reheat leftovers

If you have any leftovers, transfer them into an airtight container with a secure lid and store them in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. When it’s time to enjoy the leftovers, a quick reheat in the microwave is all it takes. Or reheat it on the stovetop with a bit of water to prevent it from drying out.

The combination of vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette helps maintain the pasta’s texture, preventing it from becoming overly firm or falling apart during reheating.

💬 Frequently Asked Questions

What is pasta fresca made of?

Traditional pasta fresca is made from flour and eggs, creating a rich and tender pasta dough. However, in this store-bought pasta recipe, we use pre-made pasta. 

What is the meaning of pasta fresca?

“Pasta fresca” translates to “fresh pasta” in Italian. It refers to pasta made from scratch using simple ingredients, as opposed to dried pasta.

What is the difference between pasta fresca and pasta secca?

The primary difference lies in their preparation and ingredients. Pasta fresca is freshly made pasta, often created by mixing flour and eggs, resulting in a soft and delicate texture. It’s typically used immediately or refrigerated for a short time.

On the other hand, pasta secca is dried pasta made with durum wheat semolina and water. It’s dried for an extended period, which gives it a firmer texture and longer shelf life. This recipe combines the convenience of store-bought dried pasta with the flavors of pasta fresca.

🍜 More Pasta Recipes

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📖 Recipe

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Pasta fresca topped with nutritional yeast and spinach leaves on a white plate with a silver fork.

Pasta Fresca

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Bianca
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: dinner, lunch
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy pasta fresca recipe is made with cherry tomatoes, garlic, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh spinach. A delicious plant-based dinner that is easy to make and requires minimal ingredients!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 7 oz (200 gr) store-bought vegan pasta (such as rigatoni, fettuccine or tagliatelle)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 teaspoon to cook the pasta
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (100 gr) mushrooms (such as cremini or button mushrooms), sliced
  • 6 oz (170 gr) cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1/2 can (7 oz) diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cups (100 gr) (baby) spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan, for topping
  • red pepper flakes (optional, for some heat)

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the onions: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pan. Add the sliced red onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, fragrant and the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and garlic: Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook until they slightly start to brown. After a few minutes, add the garlic and stir until the mushrooms are cooked and have released their moisture.
  4. Add cherry tomatoes: Add the halved fresh cherry tomatoes to the skillet and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until they start to soften and release their juices.
  5. Balsamic and red wine vinegar sauce: Stir in the balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar. Allow the sauce to simmer for 2-3 minutes to melt the flavors—season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  6. Add spinach: Add the spinach to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until it wilts.
  7. Combine pasta and veggies: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to coat the pasta evenly with the veggies and juices.
  8. Serve: Divide the pasta into serving plates and serve warm. If desired, sprinkle vegan cheese (nutritional yeast or, vegan Parmesan or crumbled feta) on top for added flavor.

Notes

  • Feel free to use gluten-free pasta or a high-protein pasta, such as lentil pasta.
  • Cook the pasta al dente.  Avoid overcooking, as it can turn mushy when combined with the sauce.
  • If you have any leftovers, transfer them into an airtight container with a secure lid and store them in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 710
  • Sugar: 8 gr
  • Sodium: 250 mg
  • Fat: 20 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 70 gr
  • Fiber: 10 gr
  • Protein: 12 gr

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